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phareign
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Defence of its citizens? I don't think it's implicit in the philosophy of tyranny to stay put in one place. Attila the Huns prosper by conquering and looting the productive.

The more we leave "societies of force" alone is essentially giving them more time for them to plan the perfect attack on us. 9/11 is an example.

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Problem is the people doing the liberating (the government of the free country) are not the people making the profit. So anticipated profits would not be a valid reason for the government to do it.

Now the companies expecting the profits might hire mercenaries....

No they may not. The purpose of government is to have the use of force delegated to it and placed under objective control. Whenever individuals are justified in using force (like in the case of securing the right to trade with willing individuals living in a dictatorship), it becomes the government's job to do that for them.

Individuals who have a responsible government, which acts to secure their rights in an objective way, should not use force themselves. They should contribute to their government and let it act on their behalf.

Sure but again what business is it of a _government_ to spend government funds (and soldiers' lives) do such a thing to ensure the profits (eventual, immediate, or otherwise) of a business?

Liberating a country doesn't ensure profits for anyone. It ensures that the country is open for trade. That alone is a reason to use force to liberate it, or to support its liberation by sponsoring the pro-capitalist opposition withing the country.

The purpose of government is to secure all our rights, including the right to freely trade with people under dictatorial rule. Doing that doesn't "ensure profits" anymore that protecting Walmart from robbers ensures their profits.

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What is important to notice about Rand's stance here is this: freeing the citizens of a foreign country is not the primary reason for invading it. We need a government in order to protect our own rights. That is the sole purpose of government; to protect the rights of its citizens. To that end, the only time it is required of our government to invade another country is when that strategy serves to protect our rights as citizens. It's not primarily about the oppressed peoples, but about the threat their leaders pose to us. Thus, Rand's stance is not an edict to go out and spread freedom and individual rights wherever they are lacking, through invading other countries. That would be an altruistic endeavor. Rather, she is simply highlighting the fact that we are not wronging the dictators of a country if we do decide to invade it. They do not have the right to be dictators in the first place.

Clear, concise, beautiful response.

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Individuals have the right to oppose tyranny and fight for justice, on principle. The government is merely the tool individuals use to exercise that right.

I am breaking a part the article itself. http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ari_ayn_rand_collectivized_rights The reason why Communist Nations do not have national rights according to Rand's article is because only individuals have rights, not a government. Since people in Communist Nations have no rights, a Communist Nation cannot use that as an excuse to not be invaded. There are no such thing as national rights. If governments do not have rights in the first place, and only people, then governments cannot be used as tools to advance the interests of some of the people regarding liberation invasions either, on this principle. This is especially true if the people did not even vote on it, like with Vietnam. This is the definition of a holy war, and it is not the government's place to engage in holy wars. Even if it is the good thing to do. Welfare is something that advances the interests of some of the people, and liberals use government as a tool to enforce it. Liberals think government has a right to do this, like how interventionalists think the government has a right to carry out freedom wars. A liberal minded person cannot simply provide for all the poor people on their own personal income, so they use government as a tool to provide. Don't you see how this is flawed? A freedom minded person cannot possibly free countries on their own, so they use the government as a tool just like liberals do. I bring up that example because it is clear that in Rand's books she does not support the use of government as a tool to advance altruistic interests of some of the people no matter how decent their intentions are. She even believes it to be evil. They are second handers because they personally cannot do this on their own, so they use the government. There is a contradiction here, but I think it has been cleared up already quite nicely. This is not what she meant. We need to read everything in context before we decide.

There are two different conversations here, and I am attempting to cover both. The first conversation being that IF Rand was implying that it is OK for nations to be a tool when it comes to international policy but not regarding domestic policy for altruistic reasons, then there is a contradiction in the core philosophy of Objectivism. That implication has bothered some people. It did not bother me so much, because I still like Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. But unfortunately the newbie has been put in the middle of this great online debate. This has since been explained to me that this is not what she meant regarding international policy, and the explanation makes sense to me because of her actions and stances on Vietnam. My further point is that regardless of what Rand may have meant, this is not what people including other Objectivists on the forum seem to understand. So is there anything else that Rand wrote further clarifying what she meant? That's because if it is OK for government to be a tool in international relations on the behalf of some then there is a contradiction. I thought this was supposed to be a philosophy of selfishness, and why selfishness is actually more humane. The best way to help others is to create and innovate. Like how Equality 7-2521 reinvented electricity in Anthem. Not use the government as a tool to force others to promote your interests and using altruism as a justification. I agree, and I think this should be true regarding international policy as well. We did a lot more for the advancement for freedom by "inventing" the internet and even Facebook than dropping bombs or giving aid. The Egyptions rebelled on their own, because of American innovations. Our foreign aid actually held back their freedom, because their leader pocketed the money. Our innovations by so called "selfish people" set them free. The internet is even setting other oppressed countries free. We can't preach altruism when it comes to international issues and then trash it in the Domestic sector. It needs to be consistent. If it isn't, that's OK too. But if is not consistent then one can morally object to some points of Objectivism and still be an Objectivist. :)

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"Since people in Communist Nations have no rights, . . ."

Whoa, whoa, hold on. There is a big difference between not having rights and not having your rights being respected. Just because a government is not doing what it is supposed to do and is not paying any heed to its citizens rights doesn't mean they don't have them. Rights stem from our nature as human beings and exist prior to any government with the government being justified for and only for the purpose of protecting those rights that already exist. Protecting, not creating rights. The government is justified in existing solely for protecting those rights, with some of the rights of things like self defense to a certain extent and retaliatory force being delegated to them for the purpose of that protection, so if it isn't using those powers of force delegated to it to actually do much of protecting people's rights, it's basically a really bad employee not doing its job, in violation of the terms of agreement for its position, thus giving them no grounds to keep the job. If anything, they're abusing their powers to do the exact opposite of what they were hired for, making it all the more reason to fire their sorry behinds. To summarize again, the government can be ousted not because its citizens have no rights that they could possibly be delegating to their government but instead because the government isn't fulfilling its end of the bargain to use the delegated rights of its citizens of retaliatory force in order to protect the rest of its citizens rights, thus leaving it no justification for existing.

"This is the definition of a holy war, . . ." No, a "holy war" is a war held to try to supposedly advance a religious agenda. And a religion is not the same as just any old ideology either, it is specifically an ideology characterized by faith and belief in "supernatural" things.

"Welfare is something that advances the interests of some of the people, and liberals use government as a tool to enforce it. Liberals think government has a right to do this, like how interventionalists think the government has a right to carry out freedom wars." Welfare, which involves forcefully taking wealth from some people to give it to others, is unjustified because it violates property rights. (Also, for the record, it is not ultimately in the best interest of welfare recipients that they live in a society where people can and do get regularly robbed by the government and that they do exist off of stolen goods.) However, governments do not have rights all of their own, they only have conditional authorization to execute certain rights of citizens on their behalf. If the government does not meet those conditions ("use these rights of mine on my behalf to protect the rest of my rights"), they don't have justification to maintain that monopoly on the use of retaliatory force the people gave to them. The government only has a right to exist so to speak based on something like a contractual right to the rights people delegate on certain conditions, that they act on behalf of and in expression of the rights of the citizens they work for. Failing to meet the conditions of protecting citizens rights while still trying to keep making use of the retaliatory force rights makes them frauds basically, the usage of those rights is stolen, they have no right to use those rights. So, it does not well parallel to welfare at all. Welfare violates property rights, but Rand only said it could potentially be ok to invade certain countries here when the governments were totally illegitimate, in violation of the very thing that could give any government any right to exist.

"I bring up that example because it is clear that in Rand's books she does not support the use of government as a tool to advance altruistic interests of some of the people no matter how decent their intentions are." I mentioned earlier that based on her ethics, which the politics is derived from, you can take it as a given that part of her criteria for when it is acceptable to go invade these other countries is that it CANNOT be for altruistic purposes. Promoting altruism is outside the government's area of business. They don't belong sticking their nose into things that do not have to do with protecting the rights of their citizens. Thus, the invading business is only ok if it also serves toward the government's ends of protecting its citizens rights somehow. Meaning, the war is not gotten into 1) for the purpose of just freeing people from jerk rulers because we think we're the nannies of the world, making sure EVERYBODY EVERYWHERE plays nice, 2) nor is it that a whole war is started up just because one or two people want to go pillaging and screw the fact that there were people who had property rights that weren't being respected by their governments and now those same property rights aren't being protected by us, 3) nor can you go start a war that does end in freeing people, but was started just so a couple guys could get paid to rebuild everything.

Are we a little clearer now? I hope so.

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The reason why Communist Nations do not have national rights according to Rand's article is because only individuals have rights, not a government.

This is not the reason Communist Nations do not have rights. This rationale would lead to the conclusion that NO Nations have rights. It is true that only individuals have Rights but in a rights respecting country citizens delegate their right to retaliate to an initiation of force to the government so that it can be put under objective control as a further protection of their rights. (We retain the right to self defense in emergency situations). Communist nations do not have national rights because they don't even recognize or protect the rights of their citizens in the first place.

Since people in Communist Nations have no rights,

All people, even those in Communist countries, have rights by virtue of our nature. The question is: does your government recognize and uphold that fact.

This is especially true if the people did not even vote on it, like with Vietnam.

Rights are not subject to vote, so voting on something can neither enhance nor diminish its propriety as far as it being right or not.

This is the definition of a holy war, and it is not the government's place to engage in holy wars. Even if it is the good thing to do.

Engaging in a holy war would never be a "good thing to do."

Welfare is something that advances the interests of some of the people, and liberals use government as a tool to enforce it.

Welfare, in the political sense, is the product of taking from some by force and giving it to others. So "welfare", properly understood, advances no one's interests.

The first conversation being that IF Rand was implying that it is OK for nations to be a tool when it comes to international policy but not regarding domestic policy for altruistic reasons, then there is a contradiction in the core philosophy of Objectivism. That implication has bothered some people. It did not bother me so much, because I still like Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. [...] This has since been explained to me that this is not what she meant regarding international policy, and the explanation makes sense to me because of her actions and stances on Vietnam.

I should think a contradiction in the core philosophy of Objectivism would bother you.

My further point is that regardless of what Rand may have meant, this is not what people including other Objectivists on the forum seem to understand.

Yes, this is a problem with online forums: you have no idea who is actually an Objectivist and who isn't. The only thing you can do is to use your own understanding of Objectivism to decide for yourself whose statements conform with Objectivism and whose don't. This of course requires certain understanding on your part and a willingness to study Ayn Rand's own words when there is a conflict (and even when there isn't) so that you may properly judge who is right and who is wrong -- doing so has been a great boon to my understanding of Objectivism.

So is there anything else that Rand wrote further clarifying what she meant?

There are several old threads here that contain quotes from Ayn Rand that may help clarify: they often are embedded in threads dealing with "innocent" civilians in war. I found a bunch by searching for "innocent civilians": one is called "In Our Name" and another is "Pre-emptive War: e.g. Should we nuke Tehran?"

Also check-out the "THE AYN RAND MULTIMEDIA LIBRARY" at ARI located on this page . You may find some useful comments throughout and in the Q&A of "Global Balkanization" in particular.

Also "The Ayn Rand Lexicon" is a great source, found here

I thought this was supposed to be a philosophy of selfishness, and why selfishness is actually more humane. The best way to help others is to create and innovate.

It depends on what you mean by "humane" but yes, Objectivism is a philosophy of rational selfishness. But your emphasis seems to change between these two sentences: Your primary concern should be with yourself and not figuring out "the best way to help others".

We did a lot more for the advancement for freedom by "inventing" the internet and even Facebook than dropping bombs or giving aid.

Certainly I agree with the "giving aid" part, as for the rest I disagree. Dropping bombs and killing people was a boon to freedom during the Revolution, the Civil War and WWII. The internet and Facebook have done very little to advance freedom so far, in fact I think freedom is in decline and has been for a while. Even in Egypt we are uncertain of the results of a revolution there: no matter how bad it was under Mubarak, I fear it may be even worse under the Muslim Brotherhood -- I guess we'll have to wait and see.

We can't preach altruism when it comes to international issues and then trash it in the Domestic sector. It needs to be consistent. If it isn't, that's OK too. But if is not consistent then one can morally object to some points of Objectivism and still be an Objectivist. :)

Yes, we need to "trash" altruism consistently -- if we are not consistent, that is not OK. And an Objectivist cannot object with Objectivism and still be an Objectivist.

Welcome to the Forum. I hope you don't think I was too hard on you, I just wanted to point out some inconsistencies in your thinking and writing. I think you need to slow down a bit and consider your words carefully.

Also, as a helpful hint and to voice one of my pet peeves: please attribute your quotes. This is done for you automatically when you press the "Reply" button at the bottom of the post to which you are replying.

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If governments do not have rights in the first place, and only people, then governments cannot be used as tools to advance the interests of some of the people regarding liberation invasions either, on this principle.

It is not true that governments have no rights at all. A government that had no rights whatsoever for any purpose could not take a single action without being in the wrong. This is the anarchist understanding of government.

Instead, understand that government is not the source of rights. There are no original rights inherent to a state, only delegated rights for government employees to act as agents for the citizens.

The right to invade a dictatorship merely points out that if there is some other reason to invade the country there is no basis in rights theory the dictatorship can appeal to justify why it should not be invaded.

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It is not true that governments have no rights at all. A government that had no rights whatsoever for any purpose could not take a single action without being in the wrong. This is the anarchist understanding of government.

I take issue with this, Grames. Only individuals have rights. Government has CONTRACTUAL responsibilities, which must be carried out to the letter and to the best of the ability of the individual government agents. Government has corresponding CONTRACTUAL powers necessary to act as my agent, to the sole purpose of defending my Right to make my own decisions.

Government, indeed, has not rights at all. Only individuals have the fundamental Right to make decisions, and hence only individuals have any other right, since any and all valid rights are logically connectable back to the root Right.

This is not anarchistic. Government is my agent, your agent, our agent. Government's job is rigidly circumscribed and precisely well-defined. Ideally, government acts as a robot, as my agent, protecting my Right to make my own decisions. And is in no way involved in making value judgments, or any attendant economic plans per se, beyond what is naturally needed at minimum to fund and run the government -- but, this funding/running must be accomplished by voluntary payment for service provision.

Government is IMPORTANT and ESSENTIAL -- just so long as it respects and protects my Right and your Right to make decisions. That is clearly not an anachronistic position.

- ico

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Government has CONTRACTUAL responsibilities,

No. Contrary to another thread here, government does not act contractually.

A proper government's only role is to protect individual Rights.

"Contract" implies "agreement" and if a criminal does not agree to respect my rights the government must still punish him when he violates my rights.

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Since a lot of the responses are directed towards me, I will attempt to answer all of them. The contradiction does not bother me because I am new to Objectivism (not really the ideas but new to Rand)and I do like her books. Before reading her books, she was just a face to me that Libertarians liked to use to say they have a female philosopher who "agrees" with them. I have met other self-proclaimed Objectivists through YAL who feel the same way. They found the article on their own, and it doesn't bother them. I also initially stated why in my first post, because I educated myself on her background and I wouldn't blame her. I think people are entitled to their own opinions for grounded reasons, and that it doesn't tarnish the work they have done. She has grounded reasons. Regardless, this does pose a contradiction, and I can see why this would bother Objectivists. But it also would bother Rand if people think that is what she meant and they don't take the time to figure out what really meant and speak for her, regardless of what stance they take. For this, I am grateful for all the explanations because it has made me more grounded in my own understanding.

Rand said that Nations have no rights, she didn't say that the people of such nations have no rights. In fact, her point was that the people are the ones with the rights, not the nation.

A holy war is a war over morals. This is regardless of Religion. To invade a country for no other reason then that you believe you are more right than they are is for moral reasons, and therefore a holy war. If such a nation is threatening the rights of the individual citizens (by declaring war), then that is a different story. Even in that case, representatives of citizens need to vote for such intervention on their behalf. Not only did citizens not vote for Vietnam, but they also did not vote when it came to intervention with Afghanistan. I mean the 1980's intervention, not the 2001 invasion. Our own CIA trained Osama Bin Laden, so Afghanistan could win their freedom war against the Soviet Union. Not even 10 years later, Osama Bin Laden waged a terrorist attack against the United States which killed many innocent civilians. Could he have pulled this off without the 1980's intervention? There are some who believe that 9/11 was an inside job, but I know Osama Bin Laden is a real person who was in charge of the Freedom Fighters who waged a war against the Soviet Union during the 80's and our own CIA trained him. I have seen videos and the movie "Charlie Wilson's War" is based off of this. If we left things alone, there is no way Osama Bin Laden would have had the resources or training to pull of a terrorist attack against the US. That is the thanks we get. They come and try to blow us up.

Who pays for wars and aid to foreign countries? How does the US get this money? The same way they get it to pay out welfare checks and social security. By borrowing from other countries and charging taxes. At least the welfare laws passed a vote through congress, even though it was a bad idea. Representatives of citizens did not vote on these wars. They did not vote for many of the agencies and programs either. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is the biggest welfare recipient of American money in the world! 70 BILLION DOLLARS! He may not be the leader anymore, but he is a very rich man and your children are going to pay the interest on money given to him by the US government for a long time.

Who helped set Egypt free? Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. American Innovations. Not money stolen from the future children of America. I just saw the Facebook movie too, and I don't know if the real Mark is like that, but fictional Mark is such a great example of an Objectivist that he could have been a character in an Ayn Rand novel. But she did not write that story, that is a true story. The lone guy with an attitude problem with this great idea for a social network and second handers thinking that they deserve something from him. It revolves around a court case, and they used the transcript. He wrote the code, and he kept control of his company. He stood up for himself in court, making comments like, "If you invented Facebook, then you would have invented Facebook." Maybe not as long winded as Roark, but the same idea. He lost, but he still won because kept control of his company. And the Egyptions won too, not because of money stolen from American Citizens, but because of innovations from specific "self-centered" American Citizens like Mark. Facebook was created for entirely selfish reasons, but this is what helped set Egypt free. Our foreign aid is an act of altruism on the belief that Democracy is best and it is our responsibility to free the world.

The brotherhood may not be the best leaders, but they only supported the revolution. They did not start it. The kids started it. The whole situation is against anything Rand might have stood for anyway, even when only taking the article in consideration, because our money and intervention did not establish a free nation for them. She said in her article that was the only way such intervention could be justified. Innovations by so called "selfish" Americans is what helped set them free, not interventions. It is happening. I have never seen people so happy. Thousands of people on the streets lighting off fireworks. A young man said, "Our revolution, our Facebook." Freedom earned is freedom wanted.

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I take issue with this, Grames. Only individuals have rights. Government has CONTRACTUAL responsibilities, which must be carried out to the letter and to the best of the ability of the individual government agents. Government has corresponding CONTRACTUAL powers necessary to act as my agent, to the sole purpose of defending my Right to make my own decisions.

From Notes on "The Unity in Epistemology and Ethics" lecture 3. Rights are a concept with a broad and objective definition referencing certain actions, and a normative definition that integrates a normative standard.

Rights:

definition A1 - "a sanction to independent action", which Ayn Rand contrasts to acting by permission.

definition A2 - Galt: "conditions of existence required by man's nature for his proper survival". {Galt's definition is normative by appealing to "proper" survival, which incorporates some standard.}

Seems to follow the pattern. "They have legislated a right to health care. Just walk up and get it now." - in the first sense

"You can't legislate a right, the only real rights are defenses against initiations of force." - in the second sense. Relies on the first sense to derive a consistent normative version of rights.

Contractual powers are contractual rights, they are rights in the broad sense that once agreed to then no further permissions are required. In finance, exercising a put or call option is exercising a right to buy or sell at a certain price. A policeman has a right to use force in certain circumstances due to his employment, a right which others do not have.

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No. Contrary to another thread here, government does not act contractually.

A proper government's only role is to protect individual Rights.

"Contract" implies "agreement" and if a criminal does not agree to respect my rights the government must still punish him when he violates my rights.

It's a written, objective law. That's an agreement among individuals ... a contract.

Government is a contractual entity - it is not a given, does not exist a priori.

I really can't get past this.

- ico

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Contractual powers are contractual rights, they are rights in the broad sense that once agreed to then no further permissions are required. In finance, exercising a put or call option is exercising a right to buy or sell at a certain price. A policeman has a right to use force in certain circumstances due to his employment, a right which others do not have.

You are analogizing option exercise and police force. Ahem. Let's see where it leads.

Having an option to buy or sell at a specific price is a contractual obligation; that contract has terms; if you violate certain terms (e.g., those regarding front-running or some other fraudulent practice) then you lose your option. It is contractual, and you are bound by the contract.

In the case of a policeman using legal force, it is in his contract of employment that he MUST discharge his best judgment in protecting citizen's rights. So, his appropriate use of force is a contractual obligation on him, as an individual agent working for the government; by induction, the use of force by whatever collection of individuals constitutes the government at any given moment, is a contractual obligation if and only if such force is appropriate to the service of protecting individuals.

Where is it not contractual. If it is not contractual, then, what entity owns it?

- ico

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It's a written, objective law. That's an agreement among individuals ... a contract.

Government is a contractual entity - it is not a given, does not exist a priori.

I don't know what you mean by "exist a priori," but the functions required of a government (the protection of individual rights) are a fundamental necessity for man to live a fully flourishing life (a life of man qua man, as it were), and those requirements exist independently of any choices or contracts made by particular men.

The existence of a government does not require a contract between all the individual ruled by that government. A government, by definition, exerts a monopoly over certain things for a given geographical area, and everyone within that area is subject to its laws. If those laws are proper, when evaluated with regard to individual rights, then everyone within that area is also morally beholden to those laws. This is so because morality is not decided by social contract or majority vote, but by reference to the objective requirements of a flourishing human life. It does not require the agreement of those living under it.

Edited by Dante
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I don't know what you mean by "exist a priori," but the functions required of a government (the protection of individual rights) are a fundamental necessity for man to live a fully flourishing life (a life of man qua man, as it were), and those requirements exist independently of any choices or contracts made by particular men.

Food is an objective necessity and requirement of man's life, but if you are not providing your own food then you get it by trading and contract.

Law is an objective necessity and requirement of man's life, but if you are not enforcing your own justice then you get it by trade and contract.

The existence of a government does not require a contract between all the individual ruled by that government. A government, by definition, exerts a monopoly over certain things for a given geographical area, and everyone within that area is subject to its laws. If those laws are proper, when evaluated with regard to individual rights, then everyone within that area is also morally beholden to those laws. This is so because morality is not decided by social contract or majority vote, but by reference to the objective requirements of a flourishing human life. It does not require the agreement of those living under it.

This describes the moral justification of government but not the provision of it. Who will exercise the monopoly powers on force? Who will write the laws? How are the expenses paid? Those are the aspects settled by written agreement, a constitution, a contract. A contract does not justify government, it executes it.

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Government is not contractual; it does not need the consent of the murderer beforehand (via a contract) to arrest, try, convict, and punish him for a murder.

Law is NOT contract though some laws do have something to do with contracts. Laws apply to everyone in the jurisdiction, regardless of whether they consented to them or not; consent is an implicit requirement of a contract.

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Food is an objective necessity and requirement of man's life, but if you are not providing your own food then you get it by trading and contract.

Law is an objective necessity and requirement of man's life, but if you are not enforcing your own justice then you get it by trade and contract.

I'm note quite sure what comparison you are attempting to make here. Food is able to be legitimately "subjected to the market" in a way that retaliatory force is not. There can be no market in retaliatory force or law, which I'm pretty sure that you agree with (based on your posting history) so I'm confused as to what your point is here.

This describes the moral justification of government but not the provision of it. Who will exercise the monopoly powers on force? Who will write the laws? How are the expenses paid? Those are the aspects settled by written agreement, a constitution, a contract. A contract does not justify government, it executes it.

Yes, there are certain optional aspects of legitimate governments, which mainly concern how a particular government will implement the enforcement of individual rights, but the fundamental legitimizer of the existence of a government is the concept of individual rights, which is not contractual. Certain aspects of how a government enforces its fundamental purpose may be subject to contract, but its fundamental purpose is not subject to contract. Its fundamental purpose is set by the requirements of man for society.

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Government is not contractual; it does not need the consent of the murderer beforehand (via a contract) to arrest, try, convict, and punish him for a murder.

Law is NOT contract though some laws do have something to do with contracts. Laws apply to everyone in the jurisdiction, regardless of whether they consented to them or not; consent is an implicit requirement of a contract.

You should stick to using the word law when explaining law, and government when explaining government. Switching between the two words as if they referred to the same concept is a mistake. Law is in essence principles and only concrete in the form of written objective law. Government is many concrete particulars beyond the laws, such as the identities of its officers, buildings and places of business. Law is not by contract, government is.

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You should stick to using the word law when explaining law, and government when explaining government. Switching between the two words as if they referred to the same concept is a mistake. Law is in essence principles and only concrete in the form of written objective law. Government is many concrete particulars beyond the laws, such as the identities of its officers, buildings and places of business. Law is not by contract, government is.

And you should stick to using the word contract when talking about voluntary agreements between individuals.

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And you should stick to using the word contract when talking about voluntary agreements between individuals.

Perhaps I erred in using the "you should" phrase, it is too confrontational. My point stands, government and law are not the same concepts.

You are not forwarding the discussion at all with blunt assertions, and non-controversial ones at that. Government can be and has been created by voluntary agreements between individuals, referred to as "the consent of the governed". The presence of consent is not sufficient to justify any form of government, there must also be the discovery and recognition of certain truths about human nature which culminate in the principle of political rights.

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